General What Causes Aggression in Cats and How to Prevent it

What Causes Aggression in Cats and How to Prevent it



The first step to dealing with an aggressive cat is determining what type of aggression your cat is displaying and what’s causing it.


Territorial Aggression

Territorial aggression is arguably the most common form of aggression seen in cats.

It’s instinctual for cats–making it difficult to prevent–although spaying/neutering your cat/s can help the situation.

Redirected Aggression

Redirected aggression happens when a cat is angered by something like another animal outside of the window or a loud noise and their aggression is redirected to something or someone else.

This form of aggression can be avoided by identifying the cause and preventing your cat from seeing or hearing what provoked him/her to anger in the first place. If the aggression was redirected to another pet, separate the two and give them a chance to calm down. Once both cats have calmed down, bring the aggressive cat to the room where the incident occurred and offer treats. Make sure to close the blinds in case something out the window upset your cat. Once you’ve allowed the cat to explore the room, remove him/her from the room and do the same thing with the victim.

After both pets have spent some time in the room alone, bring them back into the room together with treats and toys.

Playful Aggression

Playful aggression is more common among kittens, although adult cats will display “aggression” while playing.

It may look like your cats are fighting, but they’re really just playing!

Don’t encourage rough play (biting and scratching) between you and your cat.

Fear-induced Aggression

Fear-induced aggression is pretty self-explanatory: occasionally cats will attack or display aggression out of fear, and other times cats will choose the “flight” option (run and hide).

Preventing this form of aggression is quite simple: avoid exposing your cat to other animals or situations that may cause fear in your cat.

Pain-induced Aggression

Cats–just like us humans–display aggression when in pain.

If you think your cat may be in pain, schedule an appointment with your vet to diagnose his/her problem as soon as possible.

Pet-induced Aggression

No one knows for sure what causes cats to display aggression while being petted, although most believe that overstimulation (caused by excessive petting) upsets the cat.

This form of aggression can be avoided by limiting petting sessions with your cat.

Dominant Aggression


Most cats will show their dominance over other cats by displaying aggression and marking their territory.

This form of aggression can’t be completely avoided, although you can start by not pairing two dominant cats with each other.

Idiopathic Aggression

Idiopathic refers to any disease or condition–or in our case: aggression–that’s cause is unknown. This “form” of aggression is oftentimes directed towards humans and can result in violent attacks.

Conclusion

Aggression in cats can be tricky as there are many different forms and causes.

The first two things you should do for an aggressive cat are: schedule a wellness exam with your vet and separate the cat from your other pets and children.

You can install Feliway diffusers throughout your home or purchase Feliway spray to encourage calmness and peace.


Works Cited​


“Aggression in Cats,” ASPCA,
https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/common-cat-behavior-issues/aggression-cats

“Feline Behavior Problems: Aggression,” Cornell Feline Health Center,
https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/feline-behavior-problems-aggression#:~:text=When a cat is excited,another cat in the house.

“Not Random: “Redirected Aggression,” Feline Engineering, 3 April 2020,
https://felineengineering.com/blog/redirected-aggression-in-cats/#:~:text=Slowly bring the family back,things seem at all tense.

Image by MayaSchedrina via Pixabay
 
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SirMeow

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Nov 25, 2021
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That pet-induced aggression is why I think it's never clever to make friends with big cats, as much as it's adorable (and scary!) You know the kind of thing, where you see a "cat whisperer" type play and cuddle with lions, tigers, panthers etc. And those giant rubs and purrs!

Cats of all models and sizes have a tendency to take a swipe or bite for no apparent reason. When our cute miniature cats do it we might just get a bite and / or some scratches. If their big cousins do it, it's quite likely to maim or kill the person. It only needs to happen once and the cat likely didn't really mean it, but it would be too late. Just not worth it in my opinion.

Another great article, KittyJ. :cool:
 

KittyJ

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Apr 27, 2021
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Exactly! Wild cats just aren't meant to be domesticated. One minute they're sweet as can be and the next they're eating you alive. Definitely not something I personally would want to risk.

And that's why it's illegal in most places to keep wild cats. In Florida, you can literally keep ANY animal you want. It's crazy.

Thank you!
 

SirMeow

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Nov 25, 2021
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I remember watching a documentary about some wealthy, crazy guy in America that had SEVEN tigers! He was rich, with a big place and an outdoor swimming pool, which he'd let them use. Of course, this is nowhere near big enough territory for those animals and they're also naturally solitrary, so I have no idea how he managed to make them accept each other, but at least they clearly wanted for nothing and looked in good health.

A lot of his family members were scared of the cats and wouldn't be in the same room as them - with a locked door inbetween. Others were much more chilled out about it. I remember one scene which showed one female family member stay behind a locked door and absolutely no way coming into the same environment as those tigers. She was so scared stiff that it was unintentionally funny.

The best scene of all was when one tiger gave a little nip or something, so he had to "discipline" it to stop it doing it again. The tiger was on its back, his face two inches from its, talking in a stern voice and waggling his finger at it. The tiger was blinking uncomfortably, clearly not liking being dominated. I could hardly watch, really cringing. If only that tiger knew just how much more powerful it is than that annoying, puny human, that human would have been dead in seconds. Or if it had just snapped. I'd have probably cheered.

Given how much my friend's small (and excessively cute) female cat can tear strips off me, a huge tiger doesn't bear thinking about...
 

KittyJ

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Apr 27, 2021
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Wow, that's crazy. And not only is it unsafe, it sounds pure cruel to the tigers. They're not meant to be "dominated" or told what they can and can't do. I wonder how much longer they'll humor this guy.